CLEVELAND, Ohio, 8th July 2016 (WAM)— The recent incident in which an Emirati businessman visiting Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested by police on suspicion of being a terrorist simply because he was wearing UAE national dress and talking Arabic has at its roots “fear, mixed with gross miscommunication and ignorance,” according to Jeff Darcy, an editorial cartoonist and opinion writer for the news website Cleveland.com Writing after today’s shootings of police in Dallas, Darcy noted:” It is a sad commentary that after the tragic police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the horrific ambush of Dallas police, we know the incident in Avon, where an United Arab Emirates businessman was mistaken for a member of ISIS, could have ended much worse than it did.”
“At the root of what happened in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Avon is fear,” he said. “In the Avon case, it was fear, mixed with gross miscommunication and ignorance.”
Darcy, a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist who has also been published by leading US media like the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and the Los Angeles Times, added that: ” Given the current climate and education system in this country, the Avon incident wasn’t surprising. People are understandably on edge following recent terror attacks in Orlando and abroad. National security authorities have advised Americans to ‘say something if you see something.’ It’s hard to fault the response of Avon Police given the fact that they were acting on false information that the businessman was dressed like a terrorist, acting like one and pledging allegiance to ISIS.”
He went on to criticise the level of ignorance that had caused the incident to happen, arguing that it should be used as a lesson to teach Americans that: ” people from other cultures may dress and speak differently, and that doesn’t automatically make them terror suspects.”
“The fact that the young hotel clerk was clearly ignorant of what traditional UAE attire looks like, speaks to either the quality of her education or what kind of student she was, or both,” he said. ” It also speaks to deficiencies in the diversity training and hiring standards of the hotel’s parent, Marriott. To its credit, the hotel chain is now going to review its diversity training.”
“Avon schools, and all schools, should use this incident as a teaching lesson. While the UAE is advising citizens not to wear traditional robes abroad, Americans should be advised to follow the news more closely, or just look at National Geographic magazine occasionally, to learn that people from other cultures may dress and speak differently, and that doesn’t automatically make them terror suspects,” Darcy concluded.